Most helpful positive review
409 of 411 people found the following review helpful
Full featured and easy to use, with excellent source management
on November 27, 2005
I discovered RootsMagic (v3.0) fairly recently. First, some background... I'm working with roughly 2000 names, and my goal is to research and publish the data, along with personal stories. I started with Family Tree Maker several years ago, but I didn't like the lack of citation capabilities with that earlier version. So, I switched to The Master Genealogist (TMG) which provides great source management but has a clumsy interface. The newer release of TMG has not improved this. Because you spend a lot of time entering information, the interface needs to be fairly painless and transparent. So, then I looked at Legacy, GenBox and RootsMagic, which have the necessary functionality but are also easy to use. It was a difficult choice between Legacy and RootsMagic, but I chose RootsMagic because I felt that it had a slight edge in its source management and that this feature was comparable to The Master Genealogist.
Installation was easy. After I exported my old TMG database files to a single .gedcom file, I used RootsMagic to import it. It was fast and the data loaded quite cleanly. RootsMagic lets you import GEDCOM files, Family Origins database and backup files, and PAF database files. Also, for anyone working with LDS, you can create and read TempleReady files and handle ordinances.
The interface is easy to use and it provides three views: Pedigree, Family and Descendants. You can access an individual or family by selecting the name from a list and loading it into the views. To modify an individual's data or relationships, you can right-click on the name (in any view or list) to access options from the popup menu. RootsMagic provides master lists for Sources, To-Do, Addresses, Repository, Correspondence, Places, and Fact types. Also, you can modify places, which contain addresses/locations, to include Latitude and Longitude coordinates, describe the history of the place, and include multimedia files (e.g., maps and photos).
Of course, this tool's major advantage is its source management capabilities. You can assign one or more sources to an individual, a family, or an event. Whenever you create a new source, you can define the information through a Source dialog box that has multiple tabs (Source, Text, Multimedia, and Respository), and link multiple media assets to the source (e.g., photos, files, sound, and video). Also, each time you assign the source to something, you can enter descriptive text for just that specific assignment.
As you enter data into RootsMagic, the application writes to an .rmg file for which you can create multiple backups. You can also export to the GEDCOM format for easy importing into other genealogy applications. When you export, you can define what will be exported and manage privacy options. You can generate books and reports (in many different formats). You can also publish to a web format (although I don't like the way RootsMagic outputs this). Also, I found some search capabilities to be better when they're done through the Reporting functions. Other RootsMagic options include calculators (relationship, Soundex and Date), shareable CD creation, timelines, color-coding of individuals, and charts (including wall-sized ones).
In conclusion, do not let the lower price or the easy-to-use interface dissuade you. This application has some serious citation/source capabilities that makes it competitive with The Master Genealogist and ahead of some other similar applications.